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BMC Immunol. 2012; 13: 35.
Published online Jul 6, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2172-13-35
PMCID: PMC3411434
Plasmacytoid dendritic cell interferon-α production to R-848 stimulation is decreased in male infants
Jennifer P Wang,corresponding author1 Lei Zhang,1 Rachel F Madera,1 Marcia Woda,1 and Daniel H Libraty1
1Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation, Worcester, MA, 01605, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Jennifer P Wang: Jennifer.wang/at/umassmed.edu; Lei Zhang: lei.zhang/at/umassmed.edu; Rachel F Madera: rachel.madera/at/umassmed.edu; Marcia Woda: marcia.woda/at/umassmed.edu; Daniel H Libraty: daniel.libraty/at/umassmed.edu
Received April 12, 2012; Accepted July 6, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Sex differences in response to microbial infections, especially viral ones, may be associated with Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated responses by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs).
Results
In this study, we identified sex differences in human infant pDC interferon-α production following challenge with the TLR7/8 agonist R-848. Male pDC responses were significantly lower than those of females during early infancy. This difference may be attributed to the androgen surge experienced by males during the early infancy period. Pretreatment of human pDCs with dihydrotestosterone produced a significant reduction in interferon-α production following R-848 challenge.
Conclusions
Androgen-mediated regulation of pDC TLR7-driven innate immune responses may contribute to the observed sex differences in response to infections during early infancy.
Keywords: pDC, IFN-α, TNF-α, Infant, TLR7
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